"I tend to get real books!":
: an overview of the use and perceptions of e-books at Queen's University Belfast

  • Geraldine O'Beirn

Student thesis: Master's ThesisMaster of Economic and Social Studies


The purpose of this study is to investigate the use of and attitudes towards subscribed e-book resources at Queen’s University Belfast, Northern Ireland. The research aimed to determine the quantity of e-book usage; discover patterns of use over a given period; investigate motivation for use of e-books, and factors inhibiting the use of the resource.

An overview of e-book use was achieved by the quantitative analysis of COUNTER statistics from the various e-book platforms over a period from September 2009 to June 2010. The metrics evaluated included the number of successful title requests by month and title and total searches and sessions by month and service. Trends of use were identified and the statistical data was presented in table and graph format. In order to quantify the statistical data a print questionnaire was administered to library users at the McClay Library. The questionnaire was primarily comprised of Likert style questions and an open text comment box. A total of 129 questionnaires were returned and 112 were deemed suitable for analysis. The questionnaire results were analysed by entering the data into a Survey Monkey Professional account.

The study found that e-book usage was diverse among the different e-book platforms. Generally the statistics suggest that various e-book platforms are well used, however the use of each platform fluctuates. The most intensely used platforms were those providing access to a large volume of e-books. The findings of the questionnaire showed that the majority of respondents (59.8 percent) use e-books provided by the library at Queen’s University Belfast. The preferred means for finding e-book resources was QCat, the library catalogue. The results of the Likert questions and open text comments offer an insight into user perceptions regarding e-books at the university.

The outcomes of the research demonstrate the value of e-books and allow for the creation of strategies designed to increase the uptake and use of e-book resources. The research also contributes to the ongoing exploration into how e-books are being used in academic libraries. The study summarises recommendations for further research.
Date of Award2010
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Aberystwyth University
SupervisorLucy Tedd (Supervisor)

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